At First Sight

Will new hires love your company or leave it?

The new employee shows up on Day One. Do you show him to a desk, put him to work and simply walk away? Do that, and you just may be sabotaging his chances for succeeding at the job. Fail to give him an orientation of both the company and his job as soon as he arrives, and you can count on him quitting not too long after he's started, say the experts.

Want some good news? Those same experts insist that just a few hours of training, or even small gestures that demonstrate goodwill, can turn a new employee into an enthusiastic long-termer instead of another point chalked up on your attrition tallies.

Joyce L. Gioia, president of management consulting firm, Herman Group in Greensboro, North Carolina, and co-author of Lean and Meaningful: A New Culture for Corporate America (Oakhill Press), says she can affirm the point. When a client in the help-desk industry came to her with a whopping 300 percent turnover rate, Gioia helped institute a simple new-hire orientation program that eventually slashed that number to 18 percent. Says Gioia, "Orientation takes just a little investment of time, but it pays huge dividends."

Robert McGarvey writes on business, psychology and management topics for several national publications. To reach him online with your questions or comments, e-mail

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This article was originally published in the March 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: At First Sight.

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